OK. We use plastic in our flagship product, the mighty UltraStream.
And yes, there are some things we need to be aware of in choosing products of plastic.
So it behooves us all to learn which plastics to avoid and how to lessen the harm from the plastics you do use.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to have plastic in the house. It’s been such a revolutionary material. At age 70 I remember a world without plastic and for that reason I fully understand the radical nature of change it has facilitated. There is hardly a thing a city dweller touches that isn’t plastic.
Yes, some plastics also contains harmful chemicals and yes, plastics in general have become a source of enduring pollution that the planet will struggle with for many, many years.
So even though we manufacture the UltraStream using EPA appoved safe plastics, in our own lives we try to avoid repetitive purchasing of plastics at every opportunity.
But hey, can you.. or anyone you know, honestly say that you live free of plastics? So our community’s only fallback strategy is to choose and use plastics carefully to minimize our exposure may be the next best thing to shunning them completely.
Plastics toxicity is an ongoing study and has been for many years. I remember that less than ten years ago lab workers discovered the carcinogenic effect of flasks routinely used in their workplaces, and introduced a new term we’ve all gotten used to: ‘BPA Free”.
What we do know is that most plastics contain chemical additives to create certain qualities for specific uses. And things like Bisphenol-A (BPA) and the plastic softeners known as phthalates, for example, are known to be toxic; they are both potent hormone disruptors that are increasingly linked to health effects like brain and behavior changes, cancer, and reproductive system damages, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
So where does one start in trying to have a healthier relationship with the material? EWG has put together a lot of information on the subject, much of which I’ve used as a source here.
“There is very little published research on the potential adverse health effects of chemicals that leach from plastic food containers, so it’s difficult to say they’re safe with any degree of certainty, especially with long-term use.” – Former EWG senior scientist Dr. Anila Jacob.
Let’s begin with the plastic items that touch your mouth
The easiest route for plastic chemicals to enter the body is via the mouth; given all the plastic used in the kitchen and in the context of eating and drinking, that’s a bummer. Especially for children, who are often given plastic things to eat and drink from, and who love to put everything in their mouths.
Sadly, there is no legal framework to prohibit manufacturers from using the known dangerous plastics. Add to that the consumer’s newfound enchantment with cheap deals and mass imported Chinese goods, it’s fair to say that it’s the Wild West out there. As inventors, we had a choice to make. It’s an interesting ethics-testing process because at every stage of development one is offered the cheap way and the best way, so our personal ethics are bared and examined many, many times through the evolution of a design. We’ve been ‘in the biz’ for many years so we knew that almost all water filters on the market have adroitly evaded the whole plastics issue. Water filters are a product people accept advice from the vendor easily, and so the vendor learns quickly that as the only ‘expert’ in the transaction, they can manage/manipulate what people know about.By keeping the conversation to what contaminants a filter removes, the container holding the filter media is never even discussed. In our speciality (water ionizers) we know of no other company with EPA approved safe plastics. I witnessed another ‘health product’ – slow juicers – that had polycarbonate grinding augers. They literally shaved BPA into every juice they made. Thousands were sold like this. So.. when you talk to a vendor, ASK them! Ask them for documentation.
I often think of the thousands of people who sold tobacco in the time it was never acknowledged that it may be killing people. I wonder if those people ever had sufficient reason to ask about the safety of long term use of their products, or whether the profit motive ruled. I wonder too whether now the truth is out there, what they say to their kids about how they made their money. I believe we all have a choice for ethical ways of living. Fear is the only thing that ever stands in our way.
Plastics to avoid
Toys marked with a 3 or “PVC” (AKA polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as vinyl).
PVC is frequently mixed with phthalates, a toxic additive that gives it its supple flexibility. EWG notes: “While phthalates were recently banned in new children’s toys, they may be in toys made before Feb. 2009 when the ban went into effect, as well as in shower curtains, inflatable beach toys, raincoats and toys for children older than 12.”
Polycarbonate containers (often marked with a 7 or “PC”). This rigid and clear plastic is used for food storage containers and water bottles, among other things. The problem here is BPA, which makes the material very sturdy, but can also leach from the plastic and into something you consume. Particularly when the container is used for hot food or liquids. (Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA.)
From EWG: “A recent study from Harvard University found that college students drinking their cold drinks from polycarbonate bottles had 93% more BPA in their bodies than during the weeks that they drank liquids from other containers. EWG recommends the use of glass and ceramic instead of plastic when you can.”
Plastics: Handle with care
• Don’t use plastic containers in the microwave – even if they say that they are “microwave safe.” Heat can “break down plastics and release chemical additives into your food and drink,” says EWG. “Microwaves heat unevenly, creating hot spots where the plastic is more likely to break down.”
• Likewise, do not use plastic containers for hot liquids.
• Single-use plastics shouldn’t be used again; they can break down and release chemicals when used more than once.
• Be wary of old and/or scratched plastic water bottles; a worn surface could lead to more chemical exposure.
• Wash household plastics on the top rack of the dishwasher or by hand to reduce wear.
• Keep plastic electronics (the remote, your cell phone) away from babies’ mouths, regardless of how nice it might feel for them to teethe on your iPhone; the device might be treated with fire retardants.
EWG provides these tips:
Use glass or BPA-free baby bottles with a clear silicone nipple for babies.
EWG recommends giving your baby natural teethers like frozen washcloths or natural, uncoated wood. “Plastic teethers could have harmful additives that leach when chewed.”
Avoid baby toys made of plastic; seek out toys made of natural materials, like wool, cotton, and uncoated wood.
Use ceramic or glass food containers to store and heat food.
Don’t use plastic bowls with an electric mixer, they beat up the bowl and could send bit of plastic into the mix.
Use wooden cutting boards instead of plastic; make sure to care for them properly though.
If you use a microwave, cover food with a paper towel instead of plastic wrap.
Pick a cotton shower curtain instead of vinyl.
In the tub, play with cotton washcloths, finger puppets, wooden toy boats and lightweight aluminum cups instead of soft plastic bath toys and books.
How endocrine disruptors destroy your body.
BPA’s toxic effects are well-publicized. From the lining of canned foods to polycarbonate hard plastics to even the thermal coatings on cash register receipts, this is one of the world’s most proven bad news endocrine disruptors. BPA is linked to everything from hormone-related breast and prostate cancers to polycystic ovarian syndrome and early puberty.
But did you know BPA is just one of at least a thousand chemicals or chemical mixtures that can tinker with our bodies’ delicate hormonal systems, setting us up for disease? (1)
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like phthalaltes, triclosan and even compounds detected in fish you should never eat are among the 85,000-plus manufactured chemicals in use in the United States. They’re found in everyday products and throughout the environment. For instance, did you know that things like atrazine increase tap water toxicity? It’s true.
Research spanning the last 25 years implicates endocrine disruptors in many health problems, including male reproductive disorders, premature death, obesity and diabetes, neurological impacts, breast cancer, endometriosis, female reproductive disorders, immune disorders, liver cancer, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s symptoms, prostate cancer, and thyroid disorders.
Our current laws clearly aren’t working, and policies are needed to protect people from the harmful consequences of EDC exposure. Until Congress makes it illegal for companies to put such toxic ingredients in our products, it’s unfortunately up to us to do our best to avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals. (2) But it certainly makes a strong case for electing officials who back meaningful chemical reform, doesn’t it? It seems unfair busy families should have to go to these lengths just to stay safe.
What Do Endocrine Disruptors Do?
First we need to ask: What is an endocrine disruptor? According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. The damage is believed to be most severe during prenatal or early pregnancy exposure. (3)
“From the day of conception until an individual is born or hatched, the development of each stage of life is fully under the control of hormones.
“Changes that happen during development are far less reversible [than those occurring in an adult]; you can’t go back and rewire the brain.”— the late Theo Colborn, Ph.D., zoologist and founder and president of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange
What Makes Up Your Endocrine System?
Let’s take a step back. How do we define endocrine? What does endocrine mean? The endocrine system, made up of all the body’s different hormones, regulates all biological processes in the body from conception through adulthood and into old age. This includes the: (4)
- development of the brain and nervous system
- growth and function of the reproductive system
- function of metabolism and blood sugar levels
Major components of the endocrine system include:
- female ovaries
- male testes
- pituitary gland
- thyroid gland
- adrenal glands
Other components include the:
- pineal gland
- parathyroid glands
The hypothalamus links our endocrine and nervous systems together. The hypothalamus drives the endocrine system.
The pituitary gland receives signals from the hypothalamus. This posterior lobe secretes hormones that are made by the hypothalamus. The anterior lobe produces its own hormones. Some of these act on other endocrine glands.
This gland is critical to the healthy development and maturation of humans. It also regulates metabolism.
Made up of two glands, the cortex and medulla, the adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. Adrenal glands also regulate blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and the body’s salt and water balance.
The pancreas is responsible for producing glucagon and insulin. Both hormones help regulate the concentration of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
The male reproductive gonads are called testes. The female’s reproductive gonads are ovaries. Both produce steroids that affect growth and development and also regulate reproductive cycles and behaviors.
The most prominent gonadal steroids are found in both men and women but at different levels. These include:
- Endocrine Disruptors: The Dose Doesn’t Make the Poison
When it comes to chemicals and toxicology, it seems logical to think higher doses of something are more dangerous because the health impacts are more immediate and obvious (just think about what happens when someone is exposed to high levels of pesticides — immediate poisoning warrants an emergency situation). But when you’re looking at endocrine disruptors, it’s different. Even seriously tiny doses can lead to devastating health effects. But sometimes these health impacts don’t show up for years or even decades down the line after exposure. And unlike high-dose poisonings, it’s not as easy to make the cause-and-effect connection.
Researchers are making huge breakthroughs showing how endocrine-disrupting chemicals impact human health. And it’s not pretty. (It’s also costing the U.S. health care system a boatload. More on that later).
“For decades, studies of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have challenged traditional concepts in toxicology, in particular the dogma of ‘the dose makes the poison,’ because EDCs can have effects at low doses that are not predicted by effects at higher doses.” — Lauren Vandenberg, Ph.D., lead study author (5)
Our hormonal systems are so delicate that even tiny exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals at key points of development could set us up for disease later in life. We’re taking exposures measured in the parts per billion. To put that into context, it’s like one drop in 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Member scientists of the Endocrine Society issued a report in which they claim:
“We present the evidence that endocrine disruptors have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrinology, thyroid, metabolism and obesity and cardiovascular endocrinology.” (6)
The ‘Dirty Dozen’ Endocrine Disruptors
With more than a thousand potential hormone disruptors out there, Environmental Working Group scientists created a list of the 12 most damaging and prominent endocrine disruptors to avoid:
- The Brain Drain and Economic Cost of Endocrine Disruptors
The negative health effects of endocrine disruptors are so widespread that endocrine disruptors, according to an analysis in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, cost the United States over 2 percent of its gross domestic product — a median of $340 billion annually. Researchers predict these numbers are even lower than the reality, since only a portion of endocrine-disrupting chemicals were analyzed.
This report is a huge deal because for the first time, we’re able to put a conservative estimate on how the ingredients in many everyday products are costing us our health (and money to treat). (7) In my opinion, it just doesn’t seem fair that companies get to profit from this while the citizens are stuck with the bill and illnesses.
How to Avoid Endocrine Disruptors
Plastics contain endocrine disruptors that leach into food and water, particularly when heated. Opt for glass when possible, and don’t heat food in plastic containers or coated paperboard. University of Missouri analysts studying breast cancer growth found that a brand of water bottled in plastic caused a 78 percent increase in the cancer cell proliferation. (8)
Grecian researchers at the University of Ioannina found that after heating olive oil for 10 minutes at full power, 604.6 milligrams of the plasticizer DOA leeched from the plastic wrap into the oil. (9) Researchers Oi-Wah Lau and Siu-Kay Wong found that the fat content in cheeses caused the migration of plasticizers from cling wrap to increase exponentially: 60 percent after 10 minutes of microwave heating. (10)
Take on BPA
This is one of the worst hormone disruptors out there, in my opinion. Animal studies suggest exposure to it today can actually impact three future generations. (11) It’s clear we need stronger chemical reform laws to protect us from these widespread threats.
In the meantime, avoid canned food and instead choose fresh or frozen.
And just eat less packaged foods in general. In 2016, EWG found 16,000 foods and drinks that come in cans, bottles and jars could contain the estrogen-like chemical BPA. The EWG report found BPA is commonly used in:
- The lids of glass jars for baby food, pickles, jelly, salsa and other condiments
- Aerosol cans for whipped toppings and nonstick sprays
- Bottles and tins of cooking oil
- Aluminum beverage cans, metal coffee cans and even beer kegs (12)
Use Safe Household Cleansers
Avoid phthalates and other hormone disruptors by making your own cleaners. Buy environmentally safe laundry detergents and dishwashing liquid. You can also make your own cleansers of every type, like all-natural homemade laundry soap, homemade oven cleaner and homemade household cleaner. Back off on the antibacterial soaps and cleaners, and use less chemical disinfectants.
The FDA is banning triclosan and more than a dozen other antibacterial ingredients, but many will be on the market until September 2017. The replacement ingredients may not be necessary or safe, either, so just stick to regular Castile soap and water.
Rethink Your Birth Control
Choosing a more natural approach to birth control is safer than hormonal forms of contraception, especially since we now know birth control causes depression in some women. Conventional birth control pills work by putting synthetic forms of estrogen and progestin into the body. Adding unnatural hormones throws off the natural hormone balance in the body, resulting in unwanted birth control side effects. Condoms and non-hormonal IUDs are other options to consider.
Read Your Health and Beauty Product Labels
The average person uses nine different personal care products a day that contain a whopping 126 different ingredients, according to EWG. (13) While the list of hormone-disrupting chemicals in cosmetics is long, here’s a great trick to quickly weed out products that likely contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Look on the ingredients list. If you see “fragrance” or “parfum,” avoid it. Those are catch-all terms that can include 3,000+ chemicals that often include phthalates.
You can also rate your current personal care products and find safer ones at Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety database.
Change Your Diet
What we eat and drink has a great deal to do with how many hormone disruptors we end up with. Anti-estrogenic diets have three major components: eating farther down on the food chain, eating less processed and chemically laden foods, and supplementing your diet with compounds that decrease estrogen excess and help your body to eliminate added hormones.
- Avoid processed and refined foods. Besides the many food additives and chemicals that processed and refined foods contain, the lack of fiber and extra sugar overwhelm your colon and liver so that circulating hormones are reabsorbed rather than eliminated.
- Avoid pesticides and herbicides. Buying organic can limit your intake of endocrine disruptors in and on fruits and vegetables.
- Buy pasture-raised animal products. Your best bet is to connect with a local farmer and learn about their farming practices. The ultimate goal is for the animal to to eat a natural, pesticide- and GMO-free diet. If that’s not possible, look for “American Grassfed” products or “Animal Welfare Approved.” When it comes to eggs, remember that “free-range” doesn’t necessarily mean that animals have access to grass. For eggs, pasture-raised and organic is the gold standard. “Natural” means nothing, so don’t trust that on the label.
- Eat detox veggies. The more fresh vegetables you eat, the lower you’re eating on the food chain. Toxins accumulate in the tissues of animals. Fresh veggies have a whole host of health benefits, as well as the ability to deflect excess estrogens. Cruciferous veggies, such as broccoli and cabbage, contain flavones and indoles that are particularly effective at battling estrogen excess. And, of course, avoid the high-estrogen foods.
- Buy local. Local farm methods are more transparent and accountable than big industry. They’re often a safer bet even if they haven’t been certified organic. DDT was banned as a pesticide in the U.S., but we still produce it and sell it to other countries. Much of the produce on our supermarket shelves comes from overseas. Megafarms in the U.S. regularly use estrogen in their feed for cattle, pigs and chickens.
- Avoid soy. We’ve all come to think of soy as a healthy alternative for protein and calcium. In fact, as a subsidized crop, soy has become so prevalent in so many foods that allergies are on the rise. It hides on labels as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, lecithin, starch and vegetable oil. Soy is a source of phytoestrogens. Because we are exposed to it so much in all of our foods (and health and beauty products), it’s becoming an endocrine disruptor (fermented soy has less detriments and more nutrients).
Chemicals might be just about everywhere, but you can make simple changes that greatly reduce your personal load of endocrine disruptors and what you pass on to your children.
Yesterday I had a visit from Gina, Cassie’s sister and her husband. Over a beautiful lunch in the garden Gina shared that she had just received the results of a test for toxins in her blood, and found that she had increased levels of lead. Living, like us, in a relatively unspoiled part of Australia, the only place she could think it cam from was the home grown vegetables she had grown. To help them along she had used potash. Careful checking found a small amount of lead in the potash, which, it seems, was taken up by her ‘organic’ vegetables.
The possibility of anyone being chem-free today seems to be getting farther away by the day as more and more reports come in. let’s for the moment assume that we we are meticulous with the sourcing of our food, that we drink good AlkaWay pure water, that we don’t obviously abuse our bodies with trashfood.. how about our clothes?
Our clothes, it seems, play major part on making our water sources toxic. Sarah Knapton, Science Editor for the Telegraph reports that the water from our washing machines is loaded with all sorts of nasties – and this is how our water is becoming polluted with hormone-disrupting chemicals!
Scientists have been at odds on how flame retardant compounds and chemicals used to make flexible plastics end up in the environment. factories are now closely regulated to prevent accidental or intentional spillages – so how are these nasties getting into our precious drinking water?
The levels of phthalates and retardants finding their way into the natural world is a worry. There is increasing evidence that they damage fertility and could even be the reason why male sperm counts have fallen dramatically since the 1940s.
Women with the highest concentrations of phthalates in their bodies are also more likely to suffer low libido and a study published this week by British researchers showed that the fertility of dogs has dropped since 1988, because they share the same environment to humans.
Now researchers at the University of Toronto believe they have found the answer to how they chemicals are polluting the natural world.
It seems human clothing can trap the chemicals in their fibres. We walk around, and our clothing, often electrically charged, (static) is a giant walking absorbent pad! On laundry day, the attracted and accumulated chemicals are released into the washing machine water, before being swept away into the sewerage system.
Here’s the problem: wastewater plants extract less than 20 per cent of the chemicals. Most will find their way into rivers and lakes.
Lead author Dr Miriam Diamond, from the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at Toronto, said:
“These results have implications regarding the role of clothing conveying chemicals with indoor sources to the outdoor environment. Our results suggest that physical and chemical properties of fabrics, as well as chemicals, account for chemical accumulation and release. “Clothing is unique in the indoor environment as it undergoes continual laundering. These results support the hypothesis that clothing acts as an efficient conveyer of (chemicals) from indoors to outdoors through accumulation from air and then release during laundering.”
Phthalates are used in everything from synthetic fragrances to plastic food containers, vinyl flooring, insect repellent, shower curtains and even steering wheels and dashboards. But they are not chemically bound to the plastics they are added to, so there’s a continuous release of them into the atmosphere. Flexible plastic tends to harden and become brittle over time when phthalates have leached out.
So I assume that being a conscious little consumer you are wearing as many natural fibre clothes as possible.
The Toronto study found that natural fibres were worse for trapping phthalates. Cotton picks up nearly double the level of phalates as polyester, 3475 ng/dm2 (billionth of a gram per 10cm squared) compared with 1950 ng/dm2 for the manmade fibre.
Along with fertility problems, studies in both animals and humans have also linked flame retardants to thyroid disorders, memory and learning problems, delayed mental and physical development, lower IQ, and advanced puberty. Phthalates have also been linked to diabetes.
How – exactly – do pthalates get into our clothes?
Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director of CHEM Trust said phthalates are found in household dust, which can also get onto clothes.
“Most people don’t realise quite how many hazardous chemicals you can find in normal house dust. We can reduce part of our exposures to problem chemicals by keeping our homes clean, but ultimately we need to get these chemicals out of our lives by them being banned from products in the first place”.
Health scares have led to some retardants like PBDEs being phased out in recent years but older products could still be coated in the chemicals. Many people keep sofas and beds for decades, while most offices did not replace chairs.
A new, triazine-based brominated flame retardant which has replaced polybrominated flame retardants is similar in structure to the PDBE’s and scientists have called for research into whether it is having the same health impact.
Two of the more commonly used flame retardants – tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and tetrachlorobisphenol A (TCBPA) are used on circuit boards and externally on plastic casings for electronics. The University of Houston recently showed that they disrupted hormones and promoted obesity.
The team also believe that chemicals used in dry cleaning could also be left on clothes and transferred back into the environment.
The research was published in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Learn more in the USA, UK, EU, Australia/NZ, Singapore, Canada
And.. don’t go! I have something else to add to this that might help.
We trialled an ozone generator on our water supply to our washing machine some 6 months ago. It was billed as obviating the need for detergent, which we thought would have been great, given that all our washing machine water goes into our septic system…
Unfortunately it didn’t really live up to the claims. My gardening clothes, with their red mud stains didn’t cooperate. They wanted DETERGENT!
Yet today I received a report on some studies carried out on the use of ozone to remove exactly what this article is all about – hormone disruptor chemicals. Ozone is an oxidizer, and it literally ‘cooks’ contaminants, rendering them down to their basic elements. So i am inclined to re-install our ozone generator not to displace detergents, but to break the chain of groundwater pollution this article discussed. Ozone requires very little energy to run, only works when you turn on the washing machine.. and it feels good to do it!
Visit any supermarket. You see them stacked, row after row, brand name upon brand name.
We are spoiled for choices … but we are fast learning that the ‘plastic habit’ can indeed be quite costly when added up.
And then there’s the plastic question. Naturally, it’s better to choose glass rather than cheap plastic which leaches toxic chemicals such as Bisphenol-A which could affect health when taken frequently and long term.
We are, of course, talking about bottled water. So why should we have to buy bottled drinking water? Why is this massive industry, totally dependent upon plastic, transport costs and robbing local areas of their good water?
Remember the sixties? The idea of someone charging for water in bottles would have been laughable. I still have a somewhat sinister regard for the fact that we’re being charged for water, and not without reasoning: There just could be something covertly sinister and devious going on.
There are indeed a number of people who have educated themselves enough to realize that they don’t want to choose drinking tap water with fluoride and other chemicals.
But why should we even have a need to choose the more expensive bottled water option and put up with the chemically-treated tap water?
Surely, it’s up to us to do something about this?
Fracking and our water supply
As a water lover I have to ask: why has the dangerous process of fracking technology been allowed to carry on without due study of the effects on our water supply?
Fracking uses hydraulic pressure blasts (some 40,000 plus gallons of water containing over 600 toxic chemicals) to fracture shale rock to get at its contents of gas and oil to be extracted. Much of this toxic chemical water contains methane, formaldehyde, mercury, uranium, lead and carcinogens – and is is never recovered. It inevitably finds its way into our groundwater. It can pollute wells, thus polluting our water supplies.
As well as environmental damage, the reckless insanity of fracking has now been linked to earthquakes and ill health with people and animals living in nearby areas.
It’s pretty obvious that fracking corporations are buying off the politicians and people connected.
So am I right? Is there something devious going on. Let’s look at the link between tap water to fracking.
Water, one of the most essential of life’s commodities is deliberately becoming more and more precious to obtain.
When you control the water supplies you can control the people.
It’s a crazy thought but.. perhaps the reason for fracking with its water-polluting deadly toxic chemicals going by unchecked is that it puts the people in a situation whereby their local water supplies in wells and taps is not longer usable so they have no other choice than to go to the stores and buy the corporation’s water supplies.
Think of the astronomical amounts of money the manipulators of all this could make from the quantities of water needed from folks all over the world in their everyday lives!
I can clearly remember when polycarbonate water bottles were the best bottle to buy. It wasn’t so long ago! And now we are seeing results coming in on the effects.
PA in mothers’ urine linked to low birth weights in China
It appears that a pregnant woman’s exposure to BPA can increase the risk of delivering babies with low birth weights,
During the course of the Chinese study from 2012 to 2014, 452 mother-infant pairs were selected from Wuhan, the most populous city in Central China.
Urine samples were collected from the mothers at delivery and measured for bisphenol-A . Using birth weight data obtained from medical records, the researchers then evaluated the relationship between urinary BPA levels and low birth weight.
They found that mothers of newborns with lower birth weights had significantly higher BPA levels in their urine than the control mothers, according to the study published this month in Environment International.
They also found that the relationship between low birth weight and higher BPA levels was stronger among the female babies, suggesting female babies might be more susceptible to BPA than males.
The study was the first of its kind in China, and it certainly adds to growing evidence that fetal exposure to BPA might cause developmental problems.
BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that can act like estrogen in the body. Human and animal studies have linked the chemical to reproductive, behavioral and endocrine effects.
Even the most diligent mothers-to-be may find it challenging to avoid contact with BPA. It is ubiquitous—used to make polycarbonate plastics and commonly found in food and drink packaging, and in thermal cash register receipts.
The study doesn’t prove BPA caused the low birth weights. Low birth weight can happen for a number of different reasons.
Bu… it is concerning as babies with low birth weights may be more at risk for other health problems, such as increased susceptibility to disease and infection, or longer-term problems such as learning disabilities or delayed motor and social development.
And it isn’t the first study to link prenatal BPA exposure to impaired development. In 2013, findings from a Dutch study suggest that BPA exposure at levels commonly found in people may slow fetal growth.
In addition, a 2014 study linked high BPA levels in the placenta to lower birth weights.
As you are probably aware, we have a no-BPA policy at alkaway. We are in the front line, delivering water bottles and filters that are using every day, year in, year out. That’s why we spent the money on the most stringent testing in the world for the UltraStream; the EU safety certification tests. To our knowledge we are the ONLY water ionizer in the world to have this certification. Given that you may be spending thousands on a water ionizer, I strongly recommend that you ask for independent test proof of the product’s BPA status.
A new study shows that using hand sanitizer (and other skin products) before handling receipts increases BPA absorption by as much as 185 times and leads to BPA levels associated with obesity, diabetes, CVD, infertility, and cancer.
Imagine the following scenarios:
- You go to the gas station and fill up your tank. You use the hand sanitizer next to the pump to clean your hands, then grab the receipt from the payment terminal before getting back into your car.
- You go for lunch at a fast-food or take-out restaurant. Just before ordering, you use the hand sanitizer positioned near the counter. The cashier hands your order to you with the receipt stapled on top of your bag, which you carry out with you.
- You work as a cashier at a retail store. You keep a bottle of hand sanitizer next to the register, and use it frequently throughout the day as you ring customers up.
These scenarios happen millions of times each day all over the world.
We are told that 50 million people in the USA alone eat in a fast-food restaurant each day.
A new study, published in the journal PLOS One, suggesting that using hand sanitizer prior to handling receipts can dramatically increase exposure to a chemical called BPA is well.. frightening! (1)
What’s BPA (and why should you care?)
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical that has been used in consumer goods since the 1950s. It’s found in plastic containers, food cans, DVDs, cell phones, eyeglass lenses, automobile parts, sports equipment, and in the thermal paper used for airline ticket, gas, ATM, cash register, and other types of receipts.
BTW: We do sell BPA-Free water bottles, jugs and water ionizers. We wouldn’t do less.
We’ve been going on for years about phthalates, the chemical mixed in with vinyl to make it soft and pliable. We noted previously what it was doing to men; now a new study finds that they are not too terrific for women either.
(From Treehugger’s Michael Graham Richard (@Michael_GR)
Phthalates strike again
We’ve been covering the impact of phthalates for years . They are chemicals that can be found in many soft, bendy plastics that are used in all kinds of household products (shower curtains, PVC flooring, etc, and they also end up in some processed food). Part of the problem is that phthalates additives are not well bound to plastics, so they are continuously released into the air or food or liquid. That’s why bendy, soft plastic tends to age badly and harden, becoming more brittle over time.
As if these chemicals weren’t worrying enough already for other reasons, a new study shows that phthalates might be having an impact on the libido of women by disrupting hormone signalling (they are already known to affect sexual function in men through other hormonal interactions). To figure this out, researchers tested the urine of 360 pregnant women in their 20s and 30s to determine what concentration of phthalates was present in their bodies, and then asked them about their sex drive.
The result? The women with the highest level of phthalates were 2.5x more likely to have low libido than those with the smallest concentration. This was considered statistically significant, and hopefully with more research we can determine exactly what is going on. In the meantime:
[Dr Emily Barrett, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, in New York] recommends that women trying to get pregnant should avoid processed and fast food as the more processing that food goes through the more chance it has to come into contact with the chemicals.
This is because phthalates are endocrine disruptors, and they affect testosterone and, it now seems, estrogen.
This might be another argument in favor of organic food, as these chemicals are sometimes used in pesticides. Even better if there’s no packaging!
Ian: For me it’s just another HUGE reason to institute and maintain my own antitoxin program, including greens, and molecular hydrogen with lots of pure UltraStream water to move those accumulating toxins on and out!
We’ve been beating our own drum about BPA in plastics for years now. The world is slowly catching up, and this study posted on TreeHugger kind of nails it.
Studies of humans, mice, monkeys, and sheep all point to the same scary conclusion — that BPA wreaks havoc on the female reproductive system.
“Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is an ingredient used in polycarbonate plastics, protective liners in food cans and tins, thermal coatings on paper receipts, epoxy-lined beer cans, and dental sealants. Unfortunately it’s also known to be a gender-bending endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen. BPA is so ubiquitous that 90 percent of Americans carry traces of it in their bodies, which means that there is universal fetal exposure.
Many studies have been done on the negative effects of BPA, which were first noticed in the late 1990s when researchers noticed that it appeared to disrupt hormone function. While there are still discrepancies among studies, there is one area in which all the studies point to the same scary conclusion, that BPA is an ovarian toxicant. When it comes to women and their reproductive systems, BPA is consistently linked to problems.
A New York Times article explains the work of bioscientist Jodi Flaws, (what a name for a scientist! ~Ian) from the University of Illinois, who noticed the plethora of studies linking BPA with damage to developing ovaries. Dr. Flaws decided to explore this theory in greater depth. She treated young female mice with a BPA solution that was comparable to estimated human exposure in the United States, and then examined their ovaries after one month of treatment.
“The effect of the BPA was immediately obvious. Compared with normal mice, the follicles [germ cells that develop into eggs] of the treated mice were fewer and smaller. Further analysis showed that estradiol, the sex hormone essential for normal reproductive development, was not being produced at normal levels.”
Another study produced by the same laboratory earlier this year found that treated mice stopped producing viable eggs at an abnormally young age, cutting short the span of reproductive time.
These same effects have been found in studies with sheep, monkeys, and humans.
Researchers at Harvard found that 80 percent of women at an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic tested positive for BPA, and noted that higher BPA levels were linked to fewer follicles and, therefore, fewer fertile eggs. These investigators examined the follicular fluid of 357 discarded ococytes from over 120 women visiting the IVF clinic. Increased levels of BPA were linked to stunted ococytes and chromosomal damage.
With human exposure beginning in utero and continuing throughout life, the potential damage to female ovaries is very real and scary. Because it often takes a generation for changes to appear, much damage can be caused before researchers are able to pinpoint the cause; but when it comes to BPA and ovarian toxicity, there is definite consensus among scientists and study results. The best option is to avoid BPA as much as possible.
3 Simple strategies to stay clean:
1. Take a look at your old slow juicer. They had polycarbonate augers. Very nasty. 2. Don’t use polycarbonate bottles. Get yourself as stainless steel or glass one.
3. Look closely at the inner lining of that can you just opened. if it’s lined, odds on it’s polycarbonate!
4. Get out of the whole BPA scene with your own UltraStream BPA-free hydrogen rich water system.
More Than 24,500 Chemicals Found in Bottled Water
by Dr. Jennifer Landa
Bottled water has become a fashion trend – specific brands with unique shapes that tell the world a little something about you. While your bottle of water might make you appear to be a purveyor of optimal hydration, it’s also a sign you may be exposing your body to an onslaught of chemicals.
Recently, a study by German researchers, found nearly 25,000 chemicals lurking in a single bottle of water. Many of these chemicals mimic the effects of potent pharmaceuticals inside your body, according to the study published in the journal PLoS One.
The study was broken into two parts.
For the initial portion, the researchers tested 18 samples of various commercially sold water bottles from around the globe. Through chemical analyses, they tested the water to determine if it interfered with the body’s estrogen and androgen receptors. Tap water was tested as well, for comparison. The researchers were shocked to learn that most of the bottled waters revealed interference with both kinds of hormone receptors; amounts as little as 0.1 ounces inhibited estrogenic activity by 60 percent and androgenic activity by 90 percent. The tap water, on the other hand, showed no activity on either form of receptor.
During the second part of the study, the scientists sought to pinpoint which chemicals were the cause of reproductive hormonal interferences. Using other forms of detection to isolate the various chemicals, the researchers found more than 24,500 different chemicals in the bottled waters – including two classes of chemicals, maleates and fumarates, which are known potent endocrine disruptors (hormonally active chemicals). Maleates and fumarates are utilized to manufacture plastic resins, which are used to make water bottles, and they may also appear as contaminants of other plastic chemicals.
As a healthy adult, the occasional sip from the “toxic fountain” of bottled water won’t kill you. However, small children, women of child-bearing age, and pregnant women are at greater risk of poor outcomes when exposed to these chemicals.
Effects can include stunted growth, early puberty, premature birth, infertility and early menopause – just to name a few. The remaining population should still exercise caution, as more and more research is discovering that these chemical can also trigger diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Make it a habit to carry a refillable glass, stainless steel or BPA-Free water bottle. Many cities and states are beginning to convert water fountains to more easily accommodate refilling your water bottle. This began as an effort to protect the environment, but following this study, it would appear the benefits are dual fold. Earlier this year the FDA banned bisphenol-A (BPA), a common chemical used to make plastic bottles and linings of cans, from some food-related plastics. The ban also included baby bottles and sippy cups, though manufacturers say they had already eliminated the chemical in their products. It would seem, however, BPA isn’t the only problem when it comes to chemicals leaking into the food supply.
We Can Take control of our health. No-one else will!
Invest in a reusable water bottle and buya water filter that you can trust, then simply fill your bottle with pure healthy water at home. Choose a bottle made of nontoxic glass or stainless steel – highly recommended to ensure your health and safety. Some manufacturers have begun making glass bottles covered by a rubber cover to prevent breakage and simplify your commitment to health. And, of course there is one more benefit – by choosing to carry a refillable water bottle, you avoid that $2 plus charge every time you’re thirsty.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, 15 percent of U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. A new study published in January 2014 attempts to pinpoint why these numbers are so high and they have come up with this explanation: